Do you suffer from constant knee aches and pains, which become sore during walking or running?
If the answer is yes, you may have Patellafermoral Pain Syndrome.
Patellofemoral pain is a medical term used to describe pain localised behind the kneecap. Sometimes classified as ‘runners knee,’ this syndrome can cause irritation in the knees of people from all levels of fitness, each gender and ages ranging from 10 to 90. It is not uncommon for activities like stair climbing, walking, squatting and even sitting to aggravate the knees of those who suffer from patellofemoral pain.
If we break down the term patellofemoral pain, we can begin to understand where and why it may occur. The medical term for the kneecap is patella. Femoral or femur refers to the thigh bone. This tells us the signs and symptoms are related the knee joint. To be exact, the surfaces where the structures meet. The patellofemoral joint consists of the femur’s two large epicondyles, which create a groove for our knee cap to slide through with every step, hop or squat.
However, pain arises if our patella is misaligned and tracking either to the left or right. This creates large amounts of joint pressure, as the patella begins to grind on the bony component of the femur, rather than the smooth groove it was intended for. In time, the underside of the patella begins to deteriorate and the joint is more vulnerable to irritation and discomfort.
So what causes the knee cap to become out of alignment and begin to track either inside or outside of its groove?
The quadriceps muscle group act to extend the knee, so it’s no surprise all four muscles act to pull the patella up. However, two pull in opposing diagonal directions. The vastus medialis oblique (VMO) pulls the knee cap up and in while the vastus lateralis (VL) pulls up and out. What is commonly present is due to poor movement habits. Our lateral pulling muscles (VL) become overactive and tight leading to our medial pulling muscles to become weak. This imbalance leads to the knee cap tracking outside of its groove, which in turn creates irritation.
As the knee is the only joint in the body which does not have muscles that act directly on it, we must look to the above and below structures for an underlying cause. Poor pelvic control, core activation and foot positioning can directly affect the alignment of the patellafemoral joint, and cause the knee cap to move abnormally.
Whether it is poor muscular patterning or biomechanics, we can see how every step could be a traumatic event on the knee. Failing to address this pain will not only result in increased pain over time, but also result in potential long term degenerative effects. The team at Optimum Health Solutions have the tools to assess and treat your knee pain, making it a thing of the past. Book in and see how a program can eliminate knee pain forever.